Also known as Albizia or Giaggia Arborea, the Acacia of Constantinople belongs to the family of the Mimosaceae, comprising a series of species of trees and small shrubs. It is a resistant ornamental plant native to Africa and Asia that can reach a height between 9 and 12 meters, whose foliage tends to develop during growth in a curious umbrella shape.
It has a smooth greyish-green bark when the plant is young, then tending to darken and crack as it grows over the years.
The foliage of the Acacia of Constantinople is characterized by many ovoid and elongated leaflets which, in pairs of 20-30, appear on the petiole similar to real ferns.
From June onwards fragrant, hermaphroditic flowers appear, characterized by numerous stamens up to 3 cm long, pink at the base and red at the apex: they look almost silky and give the inflorescences an appearance similar to that of feathers.
In autumn, fruits similar to brown beans rich in fertile seeds appear.
The Acacia of Constantinople loves sunny or at least half-shade places: although it resists even at low winter temperatures, it is advisable to repair the plant from the icy winter winds, while withstanding the warmer saline ones.
For the cultivation of the plant it is recommended to choose a loose, fresh, dry soil rich in organic substances: calcareous soils are also acceptable, while the harder ones that do not allow water to drain are to be avoided. In this regard, if the Acacia of Constantinople is cultivated on land, rainwater is sufficient, to be integrated in periods of greater drought every 2 weeks.
At the end of winter it is recommended to fertilize the plant, mixing the fertilizer with soil: a granular product can be used with gradual release or liquid, to be diluted in the water of the waterings, during flowering.
To contain the foliage, which tends to expand during development, it is advisable to prune it at the end of winter, eliminating the most damaged and dried parts, to the advantage also of the blooming which will be more luxuriant.
In addition to the root rot caused by excessive watering, the Acacia of Constantinople particularly fears the dangerous psylla insect. This in fact feeds on the sap of the leaves and shoots endangering the chlorophyll photosynthesis: the psylla releases a honeydew substance that in the long run causes the loss of the leaves and the desiccation of the plant. In this case it is recommended to promptly intervene by washing the plant with a potassium-based product.
The flowers of the Acacia plant of Constantinople symbolize delicacy in the language of flowers, so much so that they are nicknamed “silk flowers”.
The flowers, leaves and even the bark of the plant are rich in triterpenoids, polyphenols and saponins: in fact, in eastern countries they are consumed as vegetables or decoctions, to take advantage of the tonic, digestive, antioxidant and sedative properties against anxious states.